Centenary commemoration for war memorial: published 28 April 2022

Published Thursday, 28 April 2022
War memorial Statue surrounded by soldiers. Caption reads unveiling of the Hinckley war memorial, May 20 1922

HINCKLEY'S WAR MEMORIAL was dedicated in a public event on Friday 20 May

Members of the armed forces, descendants of fallen servicemen, local historians, schoolchildren and civic leaders will mark one hundred years since Hinckley’s war memorial was dedicated.

They will attend a short ceremony in the Garden of Remembrance in Argents Mead at 10.45am, one hundred years to the day since the memorial was first dedicated. Members of the public are warmly invited to attend.

Royal British Legion Standard Bearer Ian Walker, who is helping to organise the event with local historians and the Borough Council, has created a guest book to record attendance for posterity. This will then be placed in Hinckley Museum for use by future historians. 

In a poignant nod to history, descendants of some of the bereaved Hinckley mothers who took part in the original foundation stone ceremony will also be taking part. Local historian Greg Drozdz had already traced the descendants of three mothers who had each lost three sons in WWI and a fourth descendant has since been traced following a public appeal.

Mr Drozdz is still appealing for any descendants of Mary Ann Dixon to come forward so they can be invited to take part in this special commemoration to honour their fallen ancestors. Mary Ann Dixon's family lived in Upper Bond Street before moving to Coventry Road in the town. Three of her six sons Joseph, Herbert and William Dixon were killed in action in France in 1917 and 1918, leaving three remaining siblings, James, Charles, and George.

Greg Drozdz said: “This is one final push to get this project across the line. We only need one more family to come forward to achieve our aim of replicating events of a hundred years ago.”

In a further echo of the past, local florists are creating a floral tribute representing the three armed services - the RAF, Air Force and Navy – along with a white cross covered in lilies inspired by the floral arrangement created for the original service.

Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council’s Armed Forces Champion, Councillor Danny Findlay added: "The memorial is the town’s focal point for loved ones and a place where the community comes together to pay their respects for those servicemen who made the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms we enjoy today. We warmly invite everyone, and particularly descendants of the fallen, to join us for this very special ceremony.”

The War Memorial was built on part of Hinckley Castle, initially for those who died during World War one. Designed by John Alfred Gotch from Gotch and Saunders of Kettering, the memorial is an octagonal ashlar column is on a stepped base, which is surmounted by a bronze statue of a robed angelic figure with both arms outstretched with is the Angel of Mercy. 

In November 1951 additional panels were added bearing the names of the people of Hinckley who lost their life during World War II.

Today the memorial honours everyone from Hinckley who fell in the major wars and conflicts of the twentieth century.

There is a great deal of information about the fallen remembered on Hinckley's war memorial on an archive published on Hinckley and District museum's website, called 'Nobody Told Us'. The archive represents 25 years research by Mr Drozdz using archive information as it became available, and it is illustrated with photographs and historical news reports to show the lost life that each fallen soldier represents. The archive is open to all to view at Hinckley & District Museum (hinckleydistrictmuseum.org.uk)

 Anyone who can help Mr Drozdz piece together information about the Dixon family is asked to contact the Borough Council's communications team on 01455 238141 or complete our communications contact form